EnerGuide Energy Efficiency Home Evaluations are a service available to individuals in Canada who wish to critically asses their residential energy use. The goal is increased human health outcomes, environmental stewardship, and financial savings on energy use. While an assessment is not free, these three benefits might sway one into feeling that the expenditure is a prudent one. Some customers highlighted on the website have seen a more than threefold reduction in their energy bills after receiving this service.
However, the benefits are not limited to just a reduction in your energy bill. As stated on the Natural Resources Canada website, “[y]our personalized report can recommend upgrades to help eliminate drafts, reduce noise and provide consistent temperatures and cleaner air.”1 This broad spectrum of benefits helps to demonstrate why many homeowners choose an EnerGuide evaluation to help them evaluate their home. Indeed, many potential upgrades serve dual purposes in improving the home environment; upgrading old windows to the current model, for example, can provide both improved insulation and noise reduction. There are often subsidies available to help with some of the most key improvements a homeowner can make, like solar installation. An EnerGuide Energy Efficiency Home Evaluation can help inform these decisions and make clear what the potential savings might be for the specific home, allowing the homeowner to calculate the payback period and make an informed financial choice.
EnerGuide also provides ratings for each home, from 1 to 100, which can be a valuable tool to compare across dissimilar buildings for the potential homebuyer. This can help residents be aware of the scale of energy costs before moving in, or plan for up-front renovations that will create cost savings in the longer term. Older houses often have lower ratings due in part to outdated fixtures, single-pane windows, and, typically, larger footprints. The good news is that a few well-placed investments, such as updated insulation or appliances, can have a surprising impact on the problem. The EnerGuide rating system seems similar to LEED certification in that they both rate the efficiency of buildings, with an eye on environmental impacts. However, they differ in that LEED certification encompasses the construction and renovation of a building while EnerGuide ratings can be assigned any time after the initial construction. EnerGuide ratings are also designed to be easily changed with just a few prudent upgrades, while LEED certification levels are much harder to jump and are designed into the building from the first floorplan. A second key difference is that LEED certification encompasses not only energy efficiency but also water conservation, construction practices, and electrical sourcing. EnerGuide focuses almost exclusively on the blunt amount of energy used, with some incidental benefits such as improved air quality and noise reduction.
Canadians, both longtime residents and newer arrivals, are acutely aware of the effect the cold winter months can have on energy bills. The energy evaluation provided by EnerGuide is a powerful tool to combat this heavy seasonal expense, while being friendlier to the environment as well.